2012-04-04

Developing for Samsung SmartTV

After a glimpse of how to develop for GoogleTV,
I'm now downloading the Samsung SmartTV SDK 3.1.1.

Download 
Let's see how difficult it is to develop apps for my own TV set and get them into Samsung's market.
The nearly 300MB are still downloading...done.

Well...it's a 300MB ZIP-file containing.... an exe file.
Nowhere did it state that Windows was required.
On the contrary. "Specs &Features" says "Linux 2.6".
Looks like apps for a Samsung TV are not actually apps but downloaded websites with Javascript and optinal flash content that can make use of special API calls.

Installer
Quote of the day:
"If you want to make sync between TV and SDK, check and install apache server"
Not only does it install a full blown Apache server.
It does not let you choose to install only SmartTV 2011 and not 2010 and 2012.
It clutters the desktop with  4 new icons. One for each emulator and one for an "Apps Editor" that ...requires administrator priviliges.

 App Editor
The dialog says: "Manufacturer: Unknown" but I have to give it admin permissions.
Next dialog: Windows firewall complains about it.
The screen resembles XCode pretty much.
No example projects to open. ...this could make it hard to get a grip on how things should work.
I can create 3 trypes of project: Basic, Javascript and Flash.
In the next step it asks me a number of settings without any help as to their meaning and useless names like "cpname", "cplogo", "mgrver" or "dcont"="y".
The language is definately Javascript.  I'm not terribly exited about that given the state of javascript development and debuging tools I've seen so far. Or better the absense of them.
There is a UI designer and it does reflect simple changes of the code in the UI.
I can create buttons and other UI elements. What I can't do it double-click or right-click on a button to get to the code that handles the click.
I can run it in an emulator and debug in an emulator.
No setting to run this on my Samsung TV.

Emulator
Also triggers a Windows Firewall warning....twice.
I wonder why I did not get a choice as to what emulator to run. It just opens the 2012 one even if I want to test on a 2011 TV set.
There is a menu "Run Active Project...". Apart from the wrong capitalisation the elipsis ("...") should indicate that a dialog will open. ...doesn't happen. Just the 212 emulator again.

 Uploading
The documentation tells me how to package my app. Aparently separate packages need to be created for Europe, America, Asia, Africa and "Others".
It does not tell me how to instal and run that package on my TV.
However I did find a blog posting about it: here
Problem is: That seems to be for 2010 TV sets. My 2011 TV does have a completely different menu and no "server" or "development" setting in there.
Found it!
You need to loose all stored passwords on your TV (not again...50+ character passwords are a PAIN to type on a TV remote). Instructions are here.
Looks like you have to create a new account with the special name "develop" that no one cared to tell you about. Then a special menu will suddenly apear.
In the menu you can set your development PC as the server. You have to enter an IPv4. There is no space if your network uses IPv6 .

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